Mudgee Dragons pushing for shock switch from Group 10 to Group 11

CHANGES: Mudgee captain-coach and former NRL player Jack Littlejohn could be playing in Group 11 next season. Photo: MATT FINDLAY
CHANGES: Mudgee captain-coach and former NRL player Jack Littlejohn could be playing in Group 11 next season. Photo: MATT FINDLAY

Group 11 secretary Paul Loxley insists it would be "silly" not to consider allowing Mudgee to join the competition after it was confirmed the Dragons are pushing for a shock switch from Group 10.

Rumours have been circulating around the Western Rams region for a number of weeks in relation to a possible move and this week Mudgee president Sebastian Flack revealed he wants his club to make the move.

Flack stated the Mudgee playing group is also in favour of the proposal but it is believed some committee members remain undecided, with a sense of unfinished business in Group 10 remaining after the Dragons suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Bathurst Panthers in a drama-filled 2019 grand final.

A final decision on whether the club will apply for a move to Group 11 is set to be voted on at Mudgee's annual general meeting next Wednesday night.

Group 11 officials have already spoken with the Mudgee president and the majority of clubs in the competition are open to the idea, with some going as far as saying it would be "fantastic" if the Dragons did make the move.

We don't want to lose any club, but they're obviously discussing it and weighing up the benefits for them.

Group 10 president Linore Zamparini

Group 11 board member Ross McDermott, also the president of the Macquarie Raiders, has conducted a ring-a-round of his fellow club presidents in the past week.

"We're open to the idea and happy to talk to them," he said of Mudgee.

Loxley went further, stating "we'd be silly not to consider it" if the Dragons did decide to apply for a move.

The makeup of the Group 11 competition remains in the air heading into the AGM on November 10, with Dubbo Westside no certainty to take part in 2020 as they must adhere to a strict set of requirements after failing to finish the 2019 season.

CHALLENGE: CYMS' Corey Cox crashes into the Wellington defence in this year's Group 11 grand final. There is a chance the clubs could be playing against Mudgee in 2020. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

CHALLENGE: CYMS' Corey Cox crashes into the Wellington defence in this year's Group 11 grand final. There is a chance the clubs could be playing against Mudgee in 2020. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

We're open to the idea and happy to talk to them.

Group 11 board member Ross McDermott

There is also speculation about Group 10 competition moving forward, with Oberon Tigers president Ian Christie-Johnston confirming this week if player interest doesn't increase his club might be forced into a second division competition.

Group 10 president Linore Zamparini stated he doesn't want to lose any club from the competition, while adding he's not had any contact with the Dragons.

He has, however, heard rumours about the potential switch and while he would be "disappointed" if Mudgee was to look at moving ultimately that call belonged to the Dragons.

"We'd want them to stay," he said.

"We don't want to lose any club, but they're obviously discussing it and weighing up the benefits for them.

"It'll come down to whether Group 11 accepts them and, I guess, the submission they make to [Country Rugby League] to be released."

The Mudgee club also recently confirmed it will be appealing the three years worth of suspensions handed down to club figures following the ugly end to the Group 10 final.

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